Injury time

Running sucks

This T shirt caught my eye while volunteering at Peckham Rye parkrun. Sums up my mood

Since my last post (bless me, it’s been 11 months since my last confession), I have limped from physiotherapist to podiatrist to physiotherapist recommended by podiatrist to extra expensive physiotherapist recommended by the physiotherapist recommended by the podiatrist. Each physical therapist has been more high-fallutin than the last: steadily increasing in price until I found myself paying £82 for every follow-up visit of 30 minutes (having paid £102 for the initial 45 minute initial consultation). As a self employed freelance writer who has to supplement her writing income with a below-London-Living-Wage job in a cinema I would not be able to afford this if I had not been left a few thousand pounds in my godmother’s will. Each physio has asked if I have private health insurance to ease the pain. I don’t. I realise there’s a growing gulf between me and my better-heeled clubmates, whose private health care, which comes with their proper jobs, pays for all their physio visits, and ultrasounds and shock therapy to boot.

There’s an operation I can have, and I’m on the waiting list for it. The waiting list is about nine months. I think the NHS half hopes that people with insertional Achilles tendonopathy, once they’re put on the waiting list, forget that they ever enjoyed running by the time they get to the front of the queue, so don’t bother to have it. That won’t be me. I dream of pain-free running. I volunteer at parkrun to look out for runners of my vintage who don’t limp. I read about people like my idol Angela Copson who didn’t even try running until she was 59. And I tell myself that I have three years to be on a waiting list, go under the knife to have my Achilles debrided and my heel bone shaved, be in a cast, then a boot, then do the rehab and then learn to run again, then build up the miles, then burst on to the marathon scene again. Marathon Gran, rebooted.

Meanwhile, all those expensive physiotherapists have given me a programme of exercises, then, when my injury has flared up as a result of such exercises, and I can’t walk, let alone run, they suggest Rest, Ice, Anti-inflammatories. So I’m finished with physios: I’m going to save my money, look forward to surgery, stop swallowin ibuprofen and spend my rehabilitation time reading about my fellow marathon grans. I just hope I haven’t lost my place on Run Young 50’s blog roll over these past, bitterly silent 11 months…


3 thoughts on “Injury time

  1. RunYoung50

    Ronnie, don’t worry you are still on my list! I admire your determination to get back to running despite it being a long haul. One of the runners I interviewed is currently going through a long period of injury and desperate to get back to it. As is my sister. I think it would be interesting to write about the experience of older female runners and how they deal with injury. Best wishes Katie

  2. Mark

    What resonates with me is this huge gulf in access to physiotherapy between those with proper jobs with private health insurance, and the rest of us. NHS physiotherapy is not fit for the purpose of dealing with ‘specialist’ injuries. NHS Physios are just marking time before they move into private practice and get paid what they’re worth. The whole situation makes me very angry particularly because I, as a fellow freelancer, can’t afford the physio I need to sort out the cumulative and chronic damage of running, circus, cycling. My godmother is still alive…

    ANYHOW, as I’ve said to you before, I know how shit and frustrating injury is. I’m sorry this has become so chronic and painful. I hope that you move steadily up the waiting list, and that full rehab happens for you. And if ever you want a good whinge over a coffee, I’d be delighted!


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